Your Next Ford Model Could Be Made of 3D-Printed Components
There’s an amazing array of domains where 3D printing makes a lot of difference, but Ford thought of using this technique for testing purposes. No, they’re not printing cars, but you are pretty close.
Creating a car from scratch is no easy task. Ask just about every carmaker operating these days in the auto industry and you’ll get your confirmation. However, this doesn’t mean manufacturers can’t adopt procedures that make their lives a lot easier.
For example, Ford uses several 3D-printing labs to rapidly create prototype parts for street cars. They produce right about everything from buttons and knobs to intakes and engine covers.
But that’s not it. The same tech gimmick was used for high-performance race cars and guess what? Ford won the 2015 24 Hours of Daytona using a 3D-printed intake manifold.
“We have the ability to design an entirely new part and, one week later, have that part in hand. This lets the engineers who develop our cars – both for road and track – spend more time testing, tuning and refining,” explained Victor Martinez, 3.5-liter EcoBoost race engine engineer.
Considering how 3D printing took off in recent years in terms of popularity and applications, we could be looking at the start of a revolution in car parts production.
However, recently-displayed cheap, not pretty and weird 3D-printed cars from China tell us there’s still a long way to go before printers will replace dealerships in the car sales process. Just imagine how it would be if you could buy a file, download it to your computer and in a few days a car would stand in the middle of your living room. Crazy stuff, right?
by Tudor Rus